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SDG Goal 12 Moving away from the Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption and Production to socially equitable and ecologically sound development PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow
Friday, 09 October 2015 06:46

SDG Goal 12 Moving away from the Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption and Production to socially equitable and ecologically sound development


By Joan Russow

Global Compliance Research Project



A survey of precedents from 1972 (UNCHE) through 1992 (UNCED)  to 2002  (WSSD) . From 1972  calls for tolls on certain forms of international transport or on the consumption of certain non-renewable resources. Through   1992 the recognition that :

``Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of`the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries``resulting  in overconsumption, , To 2002 re committing to ``Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production``



Sections related to consumption are highlighted in Green




41. Looking beyond the Conference, he stressed the need for:

(a) New concepts of sovereignty, based not on the surrender of national sovereignties but on better means of exercising them collectively, and with a greater sense of responsibility for the common good;

(b) New codes of international law which the era of environmental concern required, and new means of dealing with environmental conflicts;

 (c) New international means for better management of the world's common property resources;

(d) New approaches to more automatic means of financing programmes of international co-operation, which could include levies and tolls on certain forms of international tGoalansport or on the consumption of certain non-renewable resources.


A survey of precedent from UNCHE 1972 (UNCHE to 2002  (WSSD) of calls toaddress overconsumptive patterns of development.


 From 1972  calls for tolls on certain forms of international transport or on the consumption of certain non-renewable resources.


Through   1992 the recognition that : Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries,



****1974 Declaration on the new world economic order




****1976 HABITAT I


Recognizing also that the establishment of a just and equitable world economic order through necessary changes in the areas of international trade, monetary systems, industrialization, transfer of resources, transfer of technology, and the consumption of world resources is essential for socio-economic development and improvement of human settlement,particularly in developIng countries, Declaration of Principles

Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976

6. Human settlement policies and programmes should define and strive for progressive minimum standards for an acceptable quality of life. These standards will vary within and between countries, as well as over periods of time, and therefore must be subject to change in accordance with conditions and possibilities. Some standards are most appropriately defined in quantitative terms, thus providing precisely defined targets at the local and national levels. Others must be qualitative, with their achievement subject to felt need. At the same time, social justice and a fair sharing of resources demand the discouragement of excessive consumption  (III 6 Habitat I)

Recommendation C. 5


Human settlements are consuming more and more energy just when mankind has become aware of the need to cease environmentally degrading and wasteful use of non-renewable energy resources.


(i) reducing energy consumption by changes in land-use planning, building design, living patterns and appropriate transportation systems including emphasis on mass transportation.


Recommendation C 11

Infrastructure policy


(ii) Identifying and developing new sources of energy and promoting more efficient use of energy resources, for example through innovative approaches in design and management and although financial and other incentives for energy conservation and through disincentives for wasteful consumption ( Recommendation C. 5 Habitat i)

(ii) More efficient use of resources and elimination of excessive consumption through development and implementation of maximum standards, education, conservation and other appropriate measures;


recommendation C12


(v) reduce inequalities in service and access to water as well as over-consumption and waste of water supply;

(vii) Over the short-term, transportation improvements should be designed to make more efficient use of existing highways and transit systems;


Recommendation C 14


(vii) Innovative transportation systems need to be encouraged for reducing energy consumption and conserving resources and avoiding pollution



Believeing that

[(c) The wasteful consumption and misuse of scarce natural resorces including the resources expended by Governments on armaments consitute serious limitation on the availability of resources for development purposes.






     Persuaded that:

     (a)  Lasting benefits from nature depend upon the maintenance of
essential ecological processes and life support systems, and upon the
diversity of life forms, which are jeopardized through excessive exploitation
and habitat destruction by man,

     (b)  The degradation of natural systems owing to excessive consumption
and misuse of natural resources, as well as to failure to establish an
appropriate economic order among peoples and among States, leads to the
breakdown of the economic, social and political framework of civilization, ( Preamble, WCN)
10 (d)  Non-renewable resources which are consumed as they are used shall be
exploited with restraint, taking into account their abundance, the rational
possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of
their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.


****AGENDA 2



Agenda 21 - Chapter 4


4.1. This chapter contains the following programme areas:

a. Focusing on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption;

b. Developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable

consumption patterns.


Focusing on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption Basis for action 4.3. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances.

4.4. Measures to be undertaken at the international level for the protection and enhancement of the environment must take fully into account the current imbalances in the global patterns of consumption and production.

4.5. Special attention should be paid to the demand for natural resources generated by unsustainable consumption and to the efficient use of those resources consistent with the goal of minimizing depletion and reducing pollution. Although consumption patterns are very high in certain parts of the world, the basic consumer needs of a large section of humanity are not being met. This results in excessive demands and unsustainable lifestyles among the richer segments, which place immense stress on the environment. The poorer segments, meanwhile, are unable to meet food, health care, shelter and educational needs. Changing consumption patterns will require a multipronged strategy focusing on demand, meeting the basic needs of the poor, and reducing wastage and the use of finite resources in the production process.

4.6. Growing recognition of the importance of addressing consumption has also not yet been matched by an understanding of its implications. Some economists are questioning traditional concepts of economic growth and underlining the importance of pursuing economic objectives that take account of the full value of natural resource capital. More needs to be known about the role of consumption in relation to economic growth and population dynamics in order to formulate coherent international and national policies. Objectives

 4.7. Action is needed to meet the following broad objectives

: a. To promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress and will meet the basic needs of humanity;

 b. To develop a better understanding of the role of consumption and how to bring about more sustainable consumption patterns.

Activities (a) Management-related activities Adopting an international approach to achieving sustainable consumption patterns

4.8. In principle, countries should be guided by the following basic objectives in their efforts to address consumption and lifestyles in the context of environment and development:

 a. All countries should strive to promote sustainable consumption patterns;

b. Developed countries should take the lead in achieving sustainable consumption patterns;

c. Developing countries should seek to achieve sustainable consumption patterns in their development process, guaranteeing the provision of basic needs for the poor, while avoiding those unsustainable patterns, particularly in industrialized countries, generally recognized as unduly hazardous to the environment, inefficient and wasteful, in their development processes. This requires enhanced technological and other assistance from industrialized countries.

 4.9. In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21 the review of progress made in achieving sustainable consumption patterns should be given high priority. (b) Data and information Undertaking research on consumption

4.10. In order to support this broad strategy, Governments, and/or private research and policy institutes, with the assistance of regional and international economic and environmental organizations, should make a concerted effort to:

 a. Expand or promote databases on production and consumption and develop methodologies for analysing them;

b. Assess the relationship between production and consumption, environment, technological adaptation and innovation, economic growth and development, and demographic factors;

 c. Examine the impact of ongoing changes in the structure of modern industrial economies away from material-intensive economic growth;

d. Consider how economies can grow and prosper while reducing the use of energy and materials and the production of harmful materials;

e. Identify balanced patterns of consumption worldwide which the Earth can support in the long term. Developing new concepts of sustainable economic growth and prosperity

 4.11. Consideration should also be given to the present concepts of economic growth and the need for new concepts of wealth and prosperity which allow higher standards of living through changed lifestyles and are less dependent on the Earth's finite resources and more in harmony with the Earth's carrying capacity.

This should be reflected in the evolution of new systems of national accounts and other indicators of sustainable development.

(c) International cooperation and coordination

4.12. While international review processes exist for examining economic, development and demographic factors, more attention needs to be paid to issues related to consumption and production patterns and sustainable lifestyles and environment.

4.13. In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21, reviewing the role and impact of unsustainable production and consumption patterns and lifestyles and their relation to sustainable development should be given high priority. Financing and cost evaluation

4.14. The Conference secretariat has estimated that implementation of this programme is not likely to require significant new financial resources. B. Developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption patterns Basis for action

4.15. Achieving the goals of environmental quality and sustainable development will require efficiency in production and changes in consumption patterns in order to emphasize optimization of resource use and minimization of waste. In many instances, this will require reorientation of existing production and consumption patterns that have developed in industrial societies and are in turn emulated in much of the world.

4.16. Progress can be made by strengthening positive trends and directions that are emerging, as part of a process aimed at achieving significant changes in the consumption patterns of industries, Governments, households and individuals.

Objectives 4.17. In the years ahead, Governments, working with appropriate organizations, should strive to meet the following broad objectives:

 a. To promote efficiency in production processes and reduce wasteful consumption in the process of economic growth, taking into account the development needs of developing countries;

 b. To develop a domestic policy framework that will encourage a shift to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption;

 c. To reinforce both values that encourage sustainable production and consumption patterns and policies that encourage the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.


(a) Encouraging greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources

4.18. Reducing the amount of energy and materials used per unit in the production of goods and services can contribute both to the alleviation of environmental stress and to greater economic and industrial productivity and competitiveness. Governments, in cooperation with industry, should therefore intensify efforts to use energy and resources in an economically efficient and environmentally sound manner by:

 a. Encouraging the dissemination of existing environmentally sound technologies;

 b. Promoting research and development in environmentally sound technologies;

 c. Assisting developing countries to use these technologies efficiently and to develop technologies suited to their particular circumstances;

d. Encouraging the environmentally sound use of new and renewable sources of energy;

 e. Encouraging the environmentally sound and sustainable use of renewable natural resources.

(b) Minimizing the generation of wastes

4.19. At the same time, society needs to develop effective ways of dealing with the problem of disposing of mounting levels of waste products and materials. Governments, together with industry, households and the public, should make a concerted effort to reduce the generation of wastes and waste products by:

 a. Encouraging recycling in industrial processes and at the consumed level;

b. Reducing wasteful packaging of products; c. Encouraging the introduction of more environmentally sound products.

 (c) Assisting individuals and households to make environmentally sound purchasing decisions

4.20. The recent emergence in many countries of a more environmentally conscious consumer public, combined with increased interest on the part of some industries in providing environmentally sound consumer products, is a significant development that should be encouraged. Governments and international organizations, together with the private sector, should develop criteria and methodologies for the assessment of environmental impacts and resource requirements throughout the full life cycle of products and processes. Results of those assessments should be transformed into clear indicators in order to inform consumers and decision makers.

4.21. Governments, in cooperation with industry and other relevant groups, should encourage expansion of environmental labelling and other environmentally related product information programmes designed to assist consumers to make informed choices.

4.22. They should also encourage the emergence of an informed consumer public and assist individuals and households to make environmentally informed choices by:

 a. Providing information on the consequences of consumption choices and behaviour so as to encourage demand for environmentally sound products and use of products;

b. Making consumers aware of the health and environmental impact of products, through such means as consumer legislation and environmental labelling;

 c. Encouraging specific consumer-oriented programmes, such as recycling and deposit/refund systems.

 (d) Exercising leadership through government purchasing

4.23. Governments themselves also play a role in consumption, particularly in countries where the public sector plays a large role in the economy and can have a considerable influence on both corporate decisions and public perceptions. They should therefore review the purchasing policies of their agencies and departments so that they may improve, where possible, the environmental content of government procurement policies, without prejudice to international trade principles.

(e) Moving towards environmentally sound pricing

4.24. Without the stimulus of prices and market signals that make clear to producers and consumers the environmental costs of the consumption of energy, materials and natural resources and the generation of wastes, significant changes in consumption and production patterns seem unlikely to occur in the near future.


4.25. Some progress has begun in the use of appropriate economic instruments to influence consumer behaviour. These instruments include environmental charges and taxes, deposit/refund systems, etc. This process should be encouraged in the light of country-specific conditions.

 (f) Reinforcing values that support sustainable consumption

4.26. Governments and private-sector organizations should promote more positive attitudes towards sustainable consumption through education, public awareness programmes and other means, such as positive advertising of products and services that utilize environmentally sound technologies or encourage sustainable production and consumption patterns. In the review of the implementation of Agenda 21, an assessment of the progress achieved in developing these national policies and strategies should be given due consideration. Means of implementation

4.27. This programme is concerned primarily with changes in unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and values that encourage sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles. It requires the combined efforts of Governments, consumers and producers. Particular attention should be paid to the significant role played by women and households as consumers and the potential impacts of their combined purchasing power on the economy.


Basis for action

5.2. Demographic trends and factors and sustainable development have a synergistic relationship.

 5.3. The growth of world population and production combined with unsustainable consumption patterns places increasingly severe stress on the life-supporting capacities of our planet. These interactive processes affect the use of land, water, air, energy and other resources. Rapidly growing cities, unless well-managed, face major environmental problems. The increase in both the number and size of cities calls for greater attention to issues of local government and municipal management. The human dimensions are key elements to consider in this intricate set of relationships and they should be adequately taken into consideration in comprehensive policies for sustainable development. Such policies should address the linkages of demographic trends and factors, resource use, appropriate technology dissemination, and development. Population policy should also recognize the role played by human beings in environmental and development concerns. There is a need to increase awareness of this issue among decision makers at all levels and to provide both better information on which to base national and international policies and a framework against which to interpret this information.


5.16. Existing plans for sustainable development have generally recognized demographic trends and factors as elements that have a critical influence on consumption patterns, production, lifestyles and long-term sustainability. But in future, more attention will have to be given to these issues in general policy formulation and the design of development plans. To do this, all countries will have to improve their own capacities to assess the environment and development implications of their demographic trends and factors. They will also need to formulate and implement policies and action programmes where appropriate. Policies should be designed to address the consequences of population growth built into population momentum, while at the same time incorporating measures to bring about demographic transition. They should combine environmental concerns and population issues within a holistic view of development whose primary goals include the alleviation of poverty; secure livelihoods; good health; quality of life; improvement of the status and income of women and their access to schooling and professional training, as well as fulfilment of their personal aspirations; and empowerment of individuals and communities. Recognizing that large increases in the size and number of cities will occur in developing countries under any likely population scenario, greater attention should be given to preparing for the needs, in particular of women and children, for improved municipal management and local government.


Agenda 21 – Chapter 6 PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN HEALTH 6.1. Health and development are intimately interconnected. Both insufficient development leading to poverty and inappropriate development resulting in overconsumption, coupled with an expanding world population, can result in severe environmental health p roblems in both developing and developed nations. Action items under Agenda 21 must address the primary health needs of the world's population, since they are integral to the achievement of the goals of sustainable development and primary environmental care. The linkage of health, environmental and socio-economic improvements requires intersectoral efforts. Such efforts, involving education, housing, public works and community groups, including businesses, schools and universities and religious, civic and cultural organizations, are aimed at enabling people in their communities to ensure sustainable development. Particularly relevant is the inclusion of prevention programmes rather than relying solely on remediation and treatment. Countries ought to develop plans for priority actions, drawing on the programme areas in this chapter, which are based on cooperative planning by the various levels of government, non-governmental organizations and local communities. An appropriate international organization, such as WHO, should coordinate these activities

E. Reducing health risks from environmental pollution and hazards

Basis for action

6.39. In many locations around the world the general environment (air, water and land), workplaces and even individual dwellings are so badly polluted that the health of hundreds of millions of people is adversely affected. This is, inter alia, due to past and present developments in consumption and

production patterns and lifestyles, in energy production and use, in industry, in transportation etc., with little or no regard for environmental protection. There have been notable improvements in some countries, but deterioration of the environment continues. The ability of countries to tackle pollution and health problems is greatly restrained because of lack of resources. Pollution control and health protection measures have often not kept pace with economic development. Considerable development relatedenvironmental health hazards exist in the newly industrializing countries. Furthermore, the recent analysis of WHO has clearly established the interdependence among the factors of health,environment and development and has revealed that most countries are lacking such integration as would lead to an effective pollution control mechanism.

2/ Without prejudice to such criteria as may be agreed upon by the international community, or to standards which will have to be determined nationally, it will be essential in all cases to consider the systems of values prevailing in each country and the extent of the applicability of standards that are valid for the most advanced countries but may be inappropriate and of unwarranted social cost for the developing countries.



 In industrialized countries, the consumption patterns of cities are severely stressing the global ecosystem, while settlements in the developing world need more raw material, energy, and economic development simply to overcome basic economic and social problems. Human settlement conditions in many parts of the world, particularly the developing countries, are deteriorating mainly as a result of the low levels of investment in the sector attributable to the overall resource constraints in these countries. In the low-income countries for which recent data are available, an average of only 5.6 per cent of central government expenditure went to housing, amenities, social security and welfare.

1/ Expenditure by international support and finance organizations is equally low. For example, only 1 per cent of the United Nations system's total grant-financed expenditures in 1988 went to human settlements,

 2/ while in 1991, loans from the World Bank and the International Development Association (IDA) for urban development an

7.47. Developed countries, as the largest consumers of energy, are faced with the need for energy

planning and management, promoting renewable and alternate sources of energy, and evaluating the life-cycle costs of current systems and practices as a result of which many metropolitan areas are suffering from pervasive air quality problems related to ozone, particulate matters and carbon monoxide.The causes have much to do with technological inadequacies and with an increasing fuel consumption generated by inefficiencies, high demographic and industrial concentrations and a rapid expansion in the number of motor vehicles.


7.48. Transport accounts for about 30 per cent of commercial energy consumption and for about 60 per cent of total global consumption of liquid petroleum.In developing countries, rapid motorization and insufficient investments in urban-transport planning, traffic management and infrastructure, are creating increasing problems in terms of accidents and injury, health, noise, congestion and loss of productivity similar to those occurring in many developed countries. All of these problems have a severe impact on urban populations, particularly the low-income and no-income groups.


7.50. The principal activities relevant to this programme area are included in chapter 9 (Protection of the atmosphere), programme area B, subprogramme 1 (Energy development, efficiency and consumption) and subprogramme 2 (Transportation).

7.52. Promoting efficient and environmentally sound urban transport systems in all countries should be a comprehensive approach to urban-transport planning and management. To this end, all countries


a. Integrate land-use and transportation planning to encourage development patterns that reduce transport demand;

b. Adopt urban-transport programmes favouring high-occupancy public transport in countries, as appropriate;

c. Encourage non-motorized modes of transport by providing safe cycleways and footways in urban and suburban centres in countries, as appropriate;

d. Devote particular attention to effective traffic management, efficient operation of public transport and maintenance of transport infrastructure;

e. Promote the exchange of information among countries and representatives of local

and metropolitan areas;

f. Re-evaluate the present consumption and production patterns in order to reduce theuse of energy and national resources.


9.5. The present chapter includes the following four programme areas:

a. Addressing the uncertainties: improving the scientific basis for decision-making;

b. Promoting sustainable development:

i. Energy development, efficiency and consumption;

ii. Transportation;

iii. Industrial development;

iv. Terrestrial and marine resource development and land use;

c. Preventing stratospheric ozone depletion


d. Transboundary atmospheric pollution.

B. Promoting sustainable development

1. Energy development, efficiency and consumption

Basis for action

9.9. Energy is essential to economic and social development and improved quality of life. Much of the world's energy, however, is currently produced and consumed in ways that could not be sustained if technology were to remain constant and if overall quantities were to increase substantially. The need

to control atmospheric emissions of greenhouse and other gases and substances will increasingly need to be based on efficiency in energy production, transmission, distribution and consumption, and ongrowing reliance on environmentally sound energy systems, particularly new and renewable sources ofenergy. 1/ All energy sources will need to be used in ways that respect the atmosphere, human health and the environment as a whole.

Objectives 9.11. The basic and ultimate objective of this programme area is to reduce adverse effects on the atmosphere from the energy sector by promoting policies or programmes, as appropriate, to increase the contribution of environmentally sound and cost-effective energy systems, particularly new and renewable ones, through less polluting and more efficient energy production, transmission, distribution and use. This objective should reflect the need for equity, adequate energy supplies and increasing energy consumption in developing countries, and should take into consideration the situations of countries that are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export, and/or consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products and/or the use of fossil fuels for which countries have serious difficulties in switching to alternatives, and the situations of countries highly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change.


Objectives 9.17. The basic objective of this programme area is to encourage industrial development in ways that minimize adverse impacts on the atmosphere by, inter alia, increasing efficiency in the production and consumption by industry of all resources and materials, by improving pollution-abatement technologies and by developing new environmentally sound technologies.

Vd. To improve management of forest resources, including woodfuel, and to reduce woodfuel consumption through more efficient utilization, conservation and the enhancement, development and use of other sources of energy, including alternative sources of energy.

A. Increasing the availability of food, feed and renewable raw materials Basis for action

16.2. To meet the growing consumption needs of the global population, the challenge is not only to increase food supply, but also to improve food distribution significantly while simultaneously developing more sustainable agricultural systems. Much of this increased productivity will need to take place in developing countries. It will require the successful and environmentally safe application of biotechnology in agriculture, in the environment and in human health care. Most of the investment in modern biotechnology has been in the industrialized world. Significant new investments and human resource development will be required in biotechnology, especially in the developing world.

* See programme area E.

* * * *

expanding global population, associated environmental problems will also increase. Despite increasing efforts to prevent waste accumulation and to promote recycling, the amount of environmental damage caused by overconsumption, the quantities of waste generated and the degree of unsustainable land useappear likely to continue growing.







10. To ensure that the benefits of global economic growth are equitably distributed among countries, the following actions are essential:

10 (c) Changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns, taking into account that the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances;


Ensuring that fiscal systems and other public policies are geared towards poverty eradication and that they do not generate socially divisive disparities calls for:

(e) Re-examining the distribution of subsidies, inter alia, between industry and agriculture, urban and rural areas, and private and public consumption, to ensure that subsidy systems benefit people living in poverty, especially the vulnerable, and reduce disparities;



(d) The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances;

16. Yet we recognize that far too many people, particularly women and children, are vulnerable to stress and deprivation. Poverty, unemployment and social disintegration too often result in isolation, marginalization and violence. The insecurity that many people, in particular vulnerable people, face about the future - their own and their children’s - is intensifying:

(a) Within many societies, both in developed and developing countries, the gap between rich and poor has increased. Furthermore, despite the fact that some developing countries are growing rapidly the gap between developed and many developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, has widened;

(b) More than one billion people in the world live in abject poverty, most of whom go hungry every day. A large proportion, the majority of whom are women, have very limited access to income, resources, education, health care or nutrition, particularly in Africa and the least developed countries;

(c) There are also serious social problems of a different nature andmagnitude in countries with economies in transition and countries experiencing fundamental political, economic and social transformations;

(d) The major cause of the continued deterioration of the globalenvironment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production,particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern,aggravating poverty and imbalances


20. There is general agreement that persistent widespread poverty, as well as serious social and gender inequities, have significant influences on and are in turn influenced by demographic parameters, such as population growth, structure and distribution. There is also general agreement that unsustainable consumption and production patterns are contributing to the unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation, as well as to the reinforcement of social inequities and poverty, with the above-mentioned consequences for demographic parameters.



50. While poverty affects households as a whole, because of the gender division of labour and responsibilities for household welfare, women bear a disproportionate burden, attempting to manage household consumption and production under conditions of increasing scarcity. Poverty is particularly acute for women living in rural households.

K. Women and the environment 246. Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Women have an essential role to play in the development of sustainable and ecologically sound consumption and production patterns and approaches to natural resource management, as was recognized at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the International Conference on Population and Development and reflected throughout Agenda 21. Awareness of resource depletion, the degradation of natural systems and the dangers of polluting substances has increased markedly in the past decade. These worsening conditions are destroying fragile ecosystems and displacing communities, especially women, from productive activities and are an increasing threat to a safe and healthy environment. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances. Rising sealevels as a result of global warming cause a grave and immediate threat to people living in island countries and coastal areas. The use of ozone-depleting substances, such as products with chlorofluorocarbons, halons and methyl bromides (from which plastics and foams are made), are severely affecting the atmosphere, thus allowing excessive levels of harmful ultraviolet rays to reach the Earth’s surface. This has severe effects on people’s health such as higher rates of skin cancer, eye damage and weakened immune systems. It also has severe effects on the environment, including harm to crops and ocean life.


35. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which are a matter of grave concern and aggravate poverty and imbalances.


250. Women have often played leadership roles or taken the lead in promoting an environmental ethic, reducing resource use, and reusing and recycling resources to minimize waste and excessive consumption. Women can have a particularly powerful role in influencing sustainable consumption decisions.In addition, women’s contributions to environmental management, including through grass-roots and youth campaigns to protect the environment, have often taken place at the local level, where decentralized action on environmental issues is most needed and decisive. Women, especially indigenous women, have particular knowledge of ecological linkages and fragile ecosystem management. Women in many communities provide the main labour force for subsistence production, including production of seafood; hence, their role is crucial to the provision of food and nutrition, the enhancement of the subsistence and informal sectors and the preservation of the environment. In certain regions, women are generally the most stable members of the community, as men often pursue work in distant locations, leaving women to safeguard the natural environment and ensure adequate and sustainable resource allocation within the household and the community


(ii) The impact on women of environmental and natural resource degradation, deriving from, inter alia, unsustainable production and consumption patterns,drought, poor quality water, global warming, desertification, sealevel rise, hazardous waste, natural disasters, toxic chemicals and pesticide residue

Actions to be taken 258. By Governments, regional and international organizations and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate: (a) Provide technical assistance to women, particularly in developing countries, in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, small enterprises, trade and industry to ensure the continuing promotion of human resource development and the development of environmentally sound technologies and of women’s entrepreneurship; (b) Develop gender-sensitive databases, information and monitoring systems and participatory action-oriented research, methodologies and policy analyses, with the collaboration of academic institutions and local women researchers, on the following: (i) Knowledge and experience on the part of women concerning the management and conservation of natural resources for -108- incorporation in the databases and information systems for sustainable development;

(ii) The impact on women of environmental and natural resource degradation, deriving from, inter alia, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, drought, poor quality water, global warming, desertification, sealevel rise, hazardous waste, natural disasters, toxic chemicals and pesticide residues, radioactive waste, armed conflicts and its consequences;


****1996 HABITAT II

4. To improve the quality of life within human settlements, we must combat the deterioration of conditions that in most cases, particularly in developing countries, have reached crisis proportions. To this end, we must address comprehensively, inter alia, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, particularly in industrialized countries; unsustainable population changes, including changes in structure and distribution, giving priority consideration to the tendency towards excessive population concentration; homelessness; increasing poverty; unemployment; social exclusion; family instability; inadequate resources; lack of basic infrastructure and services; lack of adequate planning; growing insecurity and violence; environmental degradation; and increased vulnerability to disasters.


10. In order to sustain our global environment and improve the quality of living in our human settlements, we commit ourselves to sustainable patterns of production, consumption, transportation and settlements development;A/CONF.165/14 page

 9 pollution prevention; respect for the carrying capacity of ecosystems; and the preservation of opportunities for future generations. In this connection, we shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of different contributions to global environmental degradation, we reaffirm the principle that countries have common but differentiated responsibilities. We also recognize that we must take these actions in a manner consistent with the precautionary principle approach, which shall be widely applied according to the capabilities of countries. We shall also promote healthy living environments, especially through the provision of adequate quantities of safe water and effective management of waste.

5. Recognizing the global nature of these issues, the international community, in convening Habitat II, has decided that a concerted global approach could greatly enhance progress towards achieving these goals. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, particularly in industrialized countries, environmental degradation, demographic changes, A/CONF.165/14 page 13 widespread and persistent poverty, and social and economic inequality can have local, cross-national and global impacts. The sooner communities, local governments and partnerships among the public, private and community sectors join efforts to create comprehensive, bold and innovative strategies for shelter and human settlements, the better the prospects will be for the safety, health and well-being of people and the brighter the outlook for solutions to global environment and social problems.


29. Sustainable development is essential for human settlements development, and gives full consideration to the needs and necessities of achieving economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Special consideration should be given to the specific situation and needs of developing countries and, as appropriate, of countries with economies in transition. Human settlements shall be planned, developed and improved in a manner that takes full account of sustainable development principles and all their components, as set out in Agenda 21 and related outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Sustainable human settlements development ensures economic development, employment opportunities and social progress, in harmony with the environment. It incorporates, A/CONF.165/14 page 19 together with the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which are equally important, and other outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the principles of the precautionary approach, pollution prevention, respect for the carrying capacity of ecosystems, and preservation of opportunities for future generations. Production, consumption and transport should be managed in ways that protect and conserve the stock of resources while drawing upon them. Science and technology have a crucial role in shaping sustainable human settlements and sustaining the ecosystems they depend upon. Sustainability of human settlements entails their balanced geographical distribution or other appropriate distribution in keeping with national conditions, promotion of economic and social development, human health and education, and the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, and maintenance of cultural diversity as well as air, water, forest, vegetation and soil qualities at standards sufficient to sustain human life and well-being for future generations.


43. We further commit ourselves to the objectives of:

(j) Promoting changes in unsustainable production and consumption patterns, particularly in industrialized countries,population policies and settlement structures that are more sustainable, reduce environmental stress, promote the efficient and rational use of natural resources - including water, air, biodiversity, forests, energy sources and land - and meet basic needs, thereby providing a healthy living and working environment for all and reducing the ecological footprint of human settlements;


Actions 90. To respond effectively to the requirements for appropriate planning, design, construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of shelter, infrastructure and other facilities, Governments at the appropriate levels should:



(h) Provide incentives for engineers, architects, planners and contractors and their clients to design and build accessible energy-efficient structures and facilities by using locally available resources and to reduce energy consumption in buildings in use;


C. Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world 1. Introduction 99. Rapid urbanization, the concentration of the urban population in large cities, the sprawl of cities into wider geographical areas and the rapid growth of mega-cities are among the most significant transformations of human settlements. By the year 2005 the majority of the world's population will live in urban areas, and approximately 40 per cent of them will be children. Urban areas will strongly influence the world of the twenty-first century, and urban and rural populations will be increasingly interdependent for their economic, environmental and social well-being. Among the economic and social factors influencing this process are population growth and voluntary and involuntary migration, real and perceived employment opportunities, cultural expectations, changing consumption and production patterns and serious imbalances and disparities among regions.


101. The sustainability of the global environment and human life will not be achieved unless, among other things, human settlements in both urban and rural areas are made economically buoyant, socially vibrant and environmentally sound, with full respect for cultural, religious and natural heritage and A/CONF.165/14 page 55 diversity. Urban settlements hold a promise for human development and for protection of the world's natural resources through their ability to support large numbers of people while limiting their impact on the natural environment. Yet many cities are witnessing harmful patterns of growth, of production and consumption, of land use, of mobility and of degradation of their physical structure. Such problems are often synonymous with soil, air and water pollution, waste of resources and destruction of natural resources. Some human settlements are also subject to limited water supply, sanitation and drainage and to dependency upon toxic and non-renewable energy fuel sources and irreversible loss of biodiversity. Many of these trends are aggravated or accelerated by high population growth and the magnitude of rural-to-urban migration. Demographic factors, combined with poverty and lack of access to resources and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, particularly in industrialized countries, can cause or exacerbate problems of environmental degradation and resource depletion and thus inhibit sustainable development. Therefore, a largely urbanized world implies that sustainable development will depend very largely on the capacity of urban and metropolitan areas to manage the production and consumption patterns and the transport and waste disposal systems needed to preserve the environment.


108. International cooperation, including city-to-city cooperation, is both necessary and mutually beneficial in promoting sustainable human settlements development. Depending on the context and the needs of the cities, towns and villages in each country and region, special attention should be paid to the most critical issues, such as changing production and consumption patterns;energy efficiency; sustainable resource and land-use management; poverty eradication; population and health; water supply, sanitation and waste management; disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and management; cultural, natural and historical heritage; environmental protection; industry; infrastructure; and basic services such as health and education facilities and services. Habitat II provides an opportunity to focus on the effect that A/CONF.165/14 page 57 current patterns of human settlements development will have on the ability to achieve the objectives established at recent United Nations conferences. Close attention to trends in urban development is essential to the viability of sustainable human settlements development in rural and urban areas alike.

120. In order to develop the full potential of young people and prepare them to take a responsible role in the development of human settlements, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, in partnership with the private sector, non-governmental youth organizations and other non-governmental organizations as well as community-based organizations, should:

(g) Encourage awareness-raising campaigns and other actions developed and implemented by youth that are aimed at promoting the appreciation by youth of their historical, natural, religious, spiritual and cultural heritage and at increasing their consciousness of environmental values and the environmental implications of their production, consumption, behavioural and ethical choices, especially those related to adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development.


127. In order to address population issues affecting human settlements and to fully integrate demographic concerns into sustainable human settlements development policies, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities and other interested parties, should:


(c) Increase the awareness, knowledge and understanding of the impact of population change and development variables on human settlements at all levels of society through public information campaigns and communication efforts centred on the significance and relevance of population-related issues and the responsible actions necessary to address such issues, including health, family planning and consumption and production patterns consistent with sustainable development;


133. Unsustainable and wasteful production and consumption patterns also lead to increasing problems in waste management. It is essential to intensify efforts aimed at minimizing the production and discharge of waste, and at recycling and reuse as much as possible and disposing of the remainder in an environmentally sound manner. This will require changes in attitudes and consumption patterns and in the design of buildings and neighbourhoods, as well as innovative, efficient and sustainable modalities for waste management.

138. Recognizing the need for an integrated approach to the provision of those environmental services and policies that are essential for human life, Governments at the appropriate levels, in partnership with other interested parties, should: (a) Incorporate the principles and strategies contained in Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in an integrated manner: the precautionary principle approach, the polluter pays principle, the pollution prevention principle, the ecosystem approach, including strategies pertaining to carrying capacity, and environmental and social impact assessments;

 (b) Promote practices and patterns of production and consumption that will conserve and protect freshwater and saltwater resources and topsoil, as well as air and soil quality;

Actions 146. In order to promote efficient and sustainable energy use, Governments at the appropriate levels, in partnership with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and consumer groups, should, as appropriate:

(i)               Encourage and promote public education and media campaigns to encourage recycling, reuse and reduced energy consumption;

·         (j) Encourage the use of solar heating and cooling and electric technologies, energy efficient design, ventilation and improved insulation of buildings to reduce the consumption of energy in buildings;

156. Cities have traditionally served as economic centres and have become the primary providers of services. As engines of economic growth and development they function within a network of supporting economic activities located in their peri-urban and surrounding rural areas. For this reason, specific actions also need to be taken to develop and maintain efficient and affordable transport, information and communications systems and linkages with other urban centres and with rural areas and to seek reasonably balanced patterns of development, both geographically and economically. Rapid changes in production technologies and in trade and consumption patterns will lead to changes in urban s patial structures that, notwithstanding their nature, need to be addressed.

185. Although the managers of human settlements face many common challenges, those responsible for the management and development of metropolitan areas and mega-cities face unique problems caused by the size and complexity of their tasks and responsibilities. Among the characteristics of metropolitan areas that require special skills are increasing global competitiveness; their ethnically and culturally diverse populations; large concentrations of urban poverty; extensive infrastructure networks and transport and communications systems; their strategic role in national, regional and international production and consumption patterns; economic development, trade and finance; and their potential for severe environmental degradation. Large metropolitan areas and mega-cities also represent the largest potential risks of human, material and production-capacity loss in the case of natural and human-made A/CONF.165/14 page 96 disasters. In some countries, the lack of a metropolitan-wide authority or effective metropolitan-wide cooperation creates difficulties in urban management.

188. Financing the future of urban development and sustaining the economic viability of cities represents a particular challenge, which will require innovative systems of finance at the national and local levels. Effective partnerships between the public and private sectors should be promoted, combining local taxes on production and consumption with fiscal incentives for investment by industry, commerce, trade and other private sector services. New forms of municipal finance are needed to meet the future needs of urban economic development and the costs of supporting infrastructure and services.

189. To strengthen national and local economies and their financial and economic base with a view to addressing the needs of sustainable human settlements, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, should seek to provide an enabling framework which aims to:

(c) Develop efficient, fair, equitable and buoyant sources of national and local revenue, including taxation, user charges, tariffs and betterment levies, to promote national and local capacity for capital investment in housing, infrastructure and basic services, and devise, as appropriate, new fiscal instruments that penalize environmental damage from both production and consumption activities;

205. The use and transfer of environmentally sound technologies that have a profound impact on consumption and production patterns are prerequisites for sustainable human settlements development.Advanced and appropriate technologies and the knowledge-based systems that support their application offer new opportunities for more efficient use of human, financial and material resources, more sustainable industrial practices and new sources of employment. International organizations have an important role to play in disseminating and facilitating access to information on technologies available for transfer. It is understood that the transfer of technology will take into account the need to protect intellectual property rights.


38. The Chairperson's summary of the hearings is set out below: Role and contribution of the Parliamentarians Forum

The two major themes of the Conference were also referred to by a number of delegates. The right to decent housing for all, where every person could live in peace and serenity, was underlined. Some delegates considered housing to be a fundamental human right for which the international community should draw up the necessary institutional framework. It was noted that the commonly recognized need to transform present production and consumption patterns into more sustainable ones would require economic measures, such as shifting the emphasis from the taxation of labour to the taxation of production and consumption - for instance, in the form of energy taxes.


Delegates noted a clear disparity between the problems and visions of the developing countries, where poverty and lack of resources were the main cause of environmental stress, and those of developed countries, where over-consumption compromised sustainable growth. Some delegates found it premature to discuss sophisticated solutions for countries where even basic commodities were not available. While delegates agreed that sustainability would ultimately be measured by how we improve our quality of life, the issue of monitoring and impact assessment must be further developed.



2. The present plan of implementation will further build on the achievements made since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and expedite the realization of the remaining goals. To this end, we commit ourselves to undertaking concrete actions and measures at all levels and to enhancing international cooperation, taking into account the Rio principles, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as set out in principle 7 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.5 These efforts will also promote the integration of the three components of sustainable development — economic development, social development and environmental protection — as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars. Poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development.


III. Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production

14. Fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development. All countries should promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, with the developed countries taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, taking into account the Rio principles, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as set out in principle 7 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Governments, relevant international organizations, the private sector and all major groups should play an active role in changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns. This would include the actions at all levels set out below. 15. Encourage and promote the development of a 10 -year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumpt ion and production to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where appropriate, delinking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the us e of resources and production processes and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste. All countries should take action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development needs and capabilities of developing countries, through mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance and capacity-building for developing countries. This would require actions at all levels to: (a) Identify specific activities, tools, policies, measures and monitoring and assessment mechanisms, including, where appropriate, life -cycle analysis and national indicators for measuring progress, bearing in mind that standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social cost to other countries, in particular developing countries;

 (b) Adopt and implement policies and measures aimed at promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption, applying, inter alia, the polluter-pays principle described in principle 16 of the Rio Declaration o n Environment and Development;

(c) Develop production and consumption policies to improve the products and services provided, while reducing environmental and health impacts, using, where appropriate, science-based approaches, such as life-cycle analysis;

(d) Develop awareness-raising programmes on the importance of sustainable production and consumption patterns, particularly among youth and the relevant segments in all countries, especially in developed countries, through, inter alia, education, public and consumer information, advertising and other media, taking into account local, national and regional cultural values;

 (e) Develop and adopt, where appropriate, on a voluntary basis, effective, transparent, verifiable, non -misleading and non-discriminatory consumer information tools to provide information relating to sustainable consumptionand Page 8 production, including human health and safety aspects. These tools should not be used as disguised trade barriers; (f) Increase eco -efficiency, with financial support from all sources, where mutually agreed, for capacity -building, technology transfer and exchange of technology with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in cooperation with relevant international organizations. 16. Increas e investment in cleaner production and eco -efficiency in all countries through, inter alia, incentives and support schemes and policies directed at establishing appropriate regulatory, financial and legal frameworks. This would include actions at all levels to: (a) Establish and support cleaner production programmes and centres and more efficient production methods by providing, inter alia, incentives and capacity - building to assist enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in developing countries, in improving productivity and sustainable development; (b) Provide incentives for investment in cleaner production and eco - efficiency in all countries, such as state -financed loans, venture capital, technical assistance and trainin g programmes for small and medium-sized companies while avoiding trade-distorting measures inconsistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization; (c) Collect and disseminate information on cost-effective examples in cleaner production, eco -efficienc y and environmental management and promote the exchange of best practices and know-how on environmentally sound technologies between public and private institutions; (d) Provide training programmes to small and medium-sized enterprises on the use of information and communication technologies.

17. Integrate the issue of production and consumption patterns into sustainable development policies, programmes and strategies, including, where applicable, into poverty reduction strategies.

18. Enhance corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability. This would include actions at all levels to: (a) Encourage industry to improve social and environmental performance through voluntary initiatives, including environmental management systems, codes of conduct, certification and public reporting on environmental and social issues, taking into account such initiatives as the International Organization for Standardization standards and Global Reporting Initiative guidelines on sustainability reporting, bearing in mind principle 11 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; (b) Encourage dialogue between enterprises and the communities in which they operate and other stakeholders; (c) Encourage financial institutions to incorporate sustainable development considerations into their decision -making processes; (d) Develop workplace-based partnerships and programmes, including training and education programmes. 19. Encourage relevant authorities at all levels to take sustainable development considerations into account in decision-making, including on national and local development planning, investment in infrastructure, business development and public procurement. This would include actions at all levels to: Page 9 (a) Provide support for the developme nt of sustainable development strategies and programmes, including in decision -making on investment in infrastructure and business development; (b) Continue to promote the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the costs of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment; (c) Promote public procurement policies that encourage develo pment and diffusion of environmentally sound goods and services; (d) Provide capacity -building and training to assist relevant authorities with regard to the implementation of the initiatives listed in the present paragraph; (e) Use environmental impact assessment procedures.









Last Updated on Friday, 09 October 2015 07:24

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